If you are mindfully choosing your skin care based on its ingredients (like how we showed you in this post), it makes sense to also do the same with what you eat. Most of you would at least agree that eating a balanced diet filled with essential nutrients and vitamins is better, than say, this box of doughnuts, right?
We don't all have the time, resources and information to make the food choices for our skin and body to function at its best. If you don't find the thought of salad every day appealing, and/or can't whip up entire feasts like Jamie Oliver in 30 minutes, we've put together six really simple ideas you can incorporate into your week (and why it's amazing for your skin). The bonus of providing the best food for your skin? The rest of your body will thank you for it.
If you love reading medical journals, analysing the clinical evidence and devouring research findings, go check out the Linus Pauling Institute (which conducts cutting-edge nutrition research)'s Nutrient Index. Otherwise, read on.
1. Head to the sushi bar once a week to improve skin hydration, protect against sun damage, reduce acne, rosacea, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin problems
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are crucial for normal skin function and appearance, and must be obtained through diet because our bodies don't make it. They invite water and nutrients into the cell system while keeping damaging toxins out. Signs you aren't getting enough includes a dry, scaly rash, dermatitis and increased trans-epidermal water loss (the amount of water continually being lost through our skin).
Great sources of omega 3s include fatty cold water fish like salmon and light tuna, along with walnuts, pecans and cashews, grass-fed beef and canola oil. You can get your omega 3's from veggies too, such as kale, spinach and brussel sprouts.
Colourful, fresh salmon and tuna sushi is also very delicious
2. Anyone can whip up this breakfast bowl everday and help prevent UV-induced damage
Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant for maintaining healthy skin, and offers photoprotection against the sun's damaging UV rays (i.e. wrinkles caused by this exposure). A fantastic ingredient in skin care, there are studies that suggest supplementing your vitamin E through diet together with vitamin C can effectively increase this photoprotection. Great sources of vitamin E are whole-grain cereals, olive oil and nuts and seeds. Spinach is also high on our list, and we try and sneak it into our lunches whenever we can.
Oatmeal and cereal topped with walnuts, bananas and chia seeds
3. Add a colourful smoothie for firmer skin and extra UV protection
Your body needs vitamin C to make collagen i.e. the stuff that keeps skin plump and wrinkle free, which is produced at a slower rate as you age. As a bonus, there are studies showing the potential for extra wrinkle fighting power (of the UV-induced kind). For added photo-protection, get the best results by taking your vitamin C together with other micronutrients like vitamin E and zinc.
Getting more vitamin C into your system is so easy - reach for colourful fresh fruits and vegetables like red, green and yellow bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, mango, pineapple, strawberries and, of course, oranges.
Green smoothie with spinach, bananas and strawberries
4. This chicken and egg situation will help boost elasticity, firmness and fight cancer
Selenium is an important skin-loving mineral to include in your diet. It is not only a cancer fighting anti-oxidant, but also helps boost skin elasticity and firmness. Foods we love with this essential mineral are brazil nuts (just a couple a day), turkey, chicken, mushrooms and eggs. Even a novice cook can make a simple chicken fillet and egg - add some colourful veggies on the side for bonus points. No time at all? Grab a bunch of those nuts and munch.
Chicken steak with egg, spinach, broccoli, avocado and carrot
5. Working through lunch? Grab a soup and hunk of wholewheat seeded bread if your skin needs some added healing power
Zinc will keep your immunity strong while helping your skin heal and repair itself from the free radicals in our environment (like an antioxidant). By regulating cell production and turnover, it even helps keep skin clear. Bonus - you also get gorgeous hair and nails! The best food sources for zinc are spinach, seeds and nuts (especially pumpkin seeds and cashews), beans and lean pork or chicken. We love boosting our zinc levels with little dark chocolate as an afternoon snack.
Autumn pumpkin soup sprinkled with seeds and nuts
6. A kale salad for lunch or as a side for dinner will help keep a clear complexion
Sulfur helps the body shed skin cells which in turn helps you keep an acne free complexion. The best food sources for sulfur are kale, brussel sprouts, garlic, asparagus, and onions.
Lemon kale and sprout salad tossed with onion and garlic
Many of the best food choices for your skin overlap in vitamin and mineral source categories. Just by choosing lean meats, fresh colourful fruits and vegetables and a handful of nuts and seeds daily will feed your skin from the inside out. Drinking plenty of fresh, clean water is also essential for skin health.
We're certainly not the only ones who believe that inner health = outer beauty. Just like how professional athletes fuel their bodies with a strict diet plan, you can't expect your body's largest organ to be effortlessly radiant and glowing without providing it with the nutrition it needs (unless you rely heavily on makeup - not quite so effortless).
If you're ready to take eating for beauty to the next level, read our interview with Carla Oates, better known as The Beauty Chef. Carla, an advocate of organic skin care and food for over 15 years and the Goodwill Ambassador of Australian Organic, believes strongly that digestive health and probiotics play a huge role in skin health (and she's backed by increasing scientific research too!), and so do we.
How do your current eating habits stack up against this post?